Bega Could Raise Its $437 Million Bid For Warrnambool, While Farmers Worry Profits Will Go Overseas If Saputo Wins

Bega Cheese is expected to raise its $437 million bid for Warrnambool in order to beat its competitors Murray Goulburn and Canada’s Saputo also vying for the cheese and butter company.

Chief executive of Bega, Barry Irvin, has said the board has backed his decision to increase the offer and said the company will remain “strongly in the game” for the long haul.

“We are the only offer that has now dealt with all its external conditions and we can think about strategy without having to wait for external approval,” Irvin told The Financial Review.

Despite Bega’s offer of $2 cash and 1.2 Bega shares (worth $7.80 on Friday’s prices) it still sits behind Saputo in the bidding for WCB, with the Canadian dairy giant’s all cash bid at $8 a share.

If Saputo were successful however some farmers are worried that profits from Australian dairy assets might be moved abroad.

NAB chief Cameron Clyne has told Financial Review Sunday he welcomes the possibility of foreign investment, saying the country needs to do all it can to attract capital from overseas.

“We have to demonstrate we want access to other markets and we have to be prepared to provide access to our market,” Clyne said, reiterating the benefits of foreign investments and free trade for Australia.

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